Talking about this show is like talking about the Beatles - you can't say anything new. That barn door was closed by the early 2000s. When this SBD hit the B&P scene in the late 80s, it was traded in clear, punchy low-gen. Because Phil was mostly lost on so many high-gen AUDs, on C90 this boomy SBD was a revelation, and was many heads' first clear peek at the year (the Moore AUD was common until the 90s). The show was great by provenance. Thus, instant legend - spoken of with hushed tones, reverence, religious fervor, anger, repulsion. I first heard the Betty in the lots - it didn't circulate out as quick as you'd think. Worth noting: this was a small-school, student council gig for the kids, in their gym - not a big NYC appearance, and not meant for posterity.
Of course, this show towering larger than life, and Deadheads being one-percenters, iconoclasts, bohemians, and non-conformists whose nature sidesteps critical consensus, there will be detractors for the sake of it (or we can just call them whiners...). Now that we have the whole tour in pristine gens, we can see that this show was matched/surpassed by others of the tour/year. It's still a must-hear if not a must-own (admittedly I revisit every few years). In reality, there IS NO best-ever Dead show. It would be sad if, out of over 2000 shows, only one was great! But there ARE a top 20, and this is one.
First Set. Jer starts like he's been playing for an hour already on Minglewood
and the drummers are money on Loser. TLEO
is always welcome but it's not the month's best. On Jack Straw
Jer is all over the place behind Bobby's verses. Deal
is way uptempo and jaw-dropping; listen to Bobby and Keith. Brown Eyed
has a great tempo and Billy uses a late-70s four on the floor (some will love, some not). Bobby teases Good Lovin' but Jer starts Row Jimmy
, whipping a wild slide solo and Donna is great. The Dancin'
is famous...and not the tour's best.
Second Set. Keith plays the Snake Charmer Song
(Streets of Cairo) tuning but Scarlet
is the only average song of the show; kind of mellow, it's still a nice 26min ScarFire, and the last couple minutes are good. They're back on track for Estimated
- a great '77. St. Stephen
is average for '77 but Not Fade
is incredible. Usually downtempo means draggy, but sometimes it means plunked right into the groove, sittin' square and rounding all the corners like a favorite couch. It has one of Jer's longest continuous eruptions ever. The Stephen>NFA sandwich with Dew is over 37min. The latter's not the tightest of the 3 on tour at first (4/27 is better, 5/22 excellent). Likewise One More Saturday
is good yet not 4/30, 5/21, or 5/28.
Overall = 5 stars
New Minglewood Blues - out t'gate brilliance
Loser - in the pocket
Jack Straw - Jer is all over the place
Deal - jaw-dropping; fetch a bandage
Brown Eyed Women - great tempo and Billy beats
Row Jimmy - crazy Jer slide solo
Estimated Prophet - great '77
Not Fade Away - groovy and injurious
The Holy Trilogy:
5/7/77 - A- More highest points, if a little less consistent and flowing
5/8/77 - A- Most consistent show but with fewer highest points
5/9/77 - B+ Least consistent, still with big high points
SOURCES: The best SBD is the cantor.sacks.266
. Though still boomy (Barton SBDs have extreme low end that washes up to the mids), it is the least problematic. It's pitch-corrected (unlike some) and patched with the Moore AUD (except Supplication>Brown-Eyed Women - and I'm not sure a dead air track is needed). However I prefer the seamons matrix. It's thumpy but has a better image and energy. The dan.35086
matrix is incredible and if you find yourself going back to this show, try rotating it in. It's different than than the seamons, fills in missing gaps from the SBD, and creates a hall image missing from the dry Betty Board - even if he states you can make a viola ;). I would call Dan's assemblage and mastering a work of art, because as a tech head it moves me emotionally, but it's a work of fine audio engineering skill. Still, you have to pull all bass freqs wayyy down - though less so in the 24-bit. This would be counter-intuitive (humans can't hear the "extra 8 bits"), but there are factors involved with the equipment used and the results in this rare case are audible (24 bit circuitry has a different path than 16, so there is probably a component factor). Though it is missing some tuning gaps, it has more hall sound whereas other matrices lean toward the SBD. The hicks.4982
has way too much bass and weird track boundaries. Of course, the Jerry Moore AUD was outstanding for the era and lends itself to fine matrices; and now we can hear it in low gen. Dancing in the Streets is on Terrapin
Selfimportantdeadhead - For a list of the hundreds of bands that had both genders, try Google. I'll let you think of a keyword that substitutes for "chicks".
Glynspsa - The key part being: YOU never heard a single person; even though there were thousands and even though there were trading vectors pre-net that had little preference for the Donna era. There are dozens of examples of the band at their best in the 78-92 years (as well as band members that preferred the Brent era, and the archivist[s] DOES choose from this era). The same wide-swath argument is used by curmudgeons that espouse pre-Keith. Wedging all DeadHeads in your box: GLWT. If you have an era preference
, MPTY. That's the beauty.
Juanie - Discussing Donna isn't a "pissing contest", it's reviewing. Sometime she adds, sometimes she detracts, sometimes cats leave the neighborhood. It doesn't take a professional to critique a Donnaskreech any more than shoes-in-dryer, guitars losing intonation in the sun, or Bobby's slide practice - just a musician's ear. Tempered Donna is likely one of the reasons for this show's vaunted status. Kreutzmann said in his book that, though he likes Donna: "I never felt she fit...she sang in tune but it was the timbre - like colors clash". He was wrong about the tuning part, some of the time. Bless him, he doesn't want to lose a friend. /soapbox